When my son was in high school, we moved to a condo.
Though away from our beloved goldendoodle, Yogi,
our new place allowed the flow of kindness to grow.
Its southern exposure offered a sliding glass door
that led to a cement slab. On sunny days, we’d practice
camp-chair-togetherness, where we’d read, talk,
and admire the lawn’s alignment of red pines.
We missed the companionship of an animal-friend
until my son surprised me with a rat, a pink-eyed
white (PEW). No doubt the no pets policy welcomed
domesticated albinos (that was my hope). My son named
her Marie after Muridae, the scientific classification
for the family of rodents. In India, the Karni Mata
temple reveres albino rats; they’re thought to be
the divine embodiments of the warrior goddess.
Angelic in appearance, Marie captured our hearts
and impressed us with her cleanliness. Her waking
hours were spent grooming; during the process,
she’d shield her eyes from the dazzling effects
of light. A happy-go-lucky girl, Marie was also
an experienced traveler. Inside my hoodie,
as I’d walk from room to room, she’d chatter,
bruxing her teeth in PEW contentment. Backpacks
were another form of transportation. On one occasion,
unbeknown to me, Marie traveled to school.
A fleeting adventure, she returned home by lunchtime
to delight in the remembrance of books, halls,
and classrooms. In her sweet muroid way,
Marie became a part of our little family.
She was the divine embodiment of condo goodness,
and her pink-eyed presence dazzled us on a daily basis.
Jeannie E. Roberts
Jeannie E. Roberts has authored eight books, six poetry collections and two illustrated children’s books. Her most recent collection is titled The Ethereal Effect – A Collection of Villanelles (Kelsay Books, 2022). She is an award-winning artist and poet, listed in the Poets & Writers directory, serves as a poetry editor for the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs, and is a Best of the Net and an Eric Hoffer award nominee.